• By Paul Lagan

Chelsea pitch in to say thanks to NHS staff for their work during the pandemic


Staff from three NHS trusts enjoy their time playing football on the Stamford Bridge pitch Picture: Chelsea FC Foundation


Key workers from three NHS trusts across north-west London discarded their scrubs and donned football boots to play in a tournament at Stamford Bridge to thank them for all their work during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Staff from Chelsea and Westminster, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and the Royal Marsden took part in the 6-a-side football men’s and women’s tournaments, coached by Chelsea Foundation football coaches.

Ex-Chelsea star Claire Rafferty was also on hand to offer advice and cheer the teams on from the side-lines.


Imperial College came out victorious with their men’s and women’s teams finishing top after winning their nail-biting penalty shootout showdowns.


Chelsea Foundation’s tournament was the opening fixture and launch event for a London-wide NHS tournament organised by football charity London United. 14 London clubs, and the 11 Foundation.

Each club will host a regional round supporting NHS trusts from their local area, with the men’s and women’s winners from each going on to compete in the final at Gunnersbury Park on June 26.


Professor Julian Redhead, medical director at Imperial College Hospital and Chelsea’s club doctor said: "I really want to say thanks so much to Chelsea and London United for organising this event with us. It’s meant so much to all our members of staff from all the three hospitals, not just Imperial – I’m not just saying that because we won.

"It’s been a really great way to say thank you for all the hard work they’ve put in. It allows them to socialise and relax and get back to some sort of normality, so a big thank you from us all.’


Dom Conlin, hospital director, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital said: "‘The idea behind the tournament was as a thank you to NHS staff for their amazing efforts during the pandemic, and we’re extremely grateful to Chelsea and the other London clubs involved for running with the idea and turning it into an event where we can have some fun, be active, and socialise with our colleagues in a way that hasn’t been possible for a long, long time.’


Head of region, South-east for Chelsea Foundation, Phil Hastings said: "NHS staff up and down the country have given so much during the pandemic and have taken care of so many people.

"It was great to team up with Yokohama to offer our local NHS staff a short respite away from their daily duties, giving everyone at Chelsea FC an opportunity to say thank you and showcase our ongoing support for our key workers.


‘We look forward to continuing to build strong relationships with the three NHS Trusts involved and supporting them at the final tournament in June."